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Do E-cigarettes Tempt Kids to Smoke?

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on December 19, 2013

Do E-cigarettes Tempt Kids to Smoke? A new national opinion poll finds that parents are not keen on the concept of e-cigarettes as many worry that the devices will lead to use of tobacco and other products.

In fact, the University of Michigan poll discovered 44 percent of adult respondents believed this would be the case.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that look like cigarettes but don’t burn tobacco.

They have replaceable cartridges of liquid containing nicotine, which is inhaled as a vapor along with flavors like chocolate, fruit, candy or even tobacco.

“This poll shows high levels of concern about e-cigarettes and the possibility that kids who try them could start smoking tobacco,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P.

The poll was administered to 2,124 adults age 18 and over. Subject content included arguments both for and against e-cigarettes. Then adults were asked for their opinions about the devices and possible regulations and laws.

Advocates of e-cigarettes say they are a healthier alternative to tobacco smoking and argue it may help smokers to quit.

Critics counter that e-cigarettes may have health risks and may encourage people and kids or teens to smoke tobacco.

Currently, e-cigarettes are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Twenty-six states have regulations prohibiting sale to minors.

In the poll, 86 percent of adults said they have heard of e-cigarettes, while only 13 percent have ever tried one.

Among parents, 48 percent said they are very or somewhat concerned that their children will try e-cigarettes.

Meanwhile, 65 percent of adults think e-cigarettes should have health warnings like tobacco cigarettes and nicotine products.

Adults also expressed widespread support for new laws regarding e-cigarettes: 88 percent think manufacturers should be required to test e-cigarettes for safety and 86 percent favor prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

Seventy-one percent of adults support restricting the marketing of e-cigarettes on social networking sites.

“E-cigarettes are a relatively new product, with little information about safety or long-term health effects. However, the public is clearly aware of the devices and concerned about their impact, according to this month’s poll results,” says Davis.

“In 2010, the poll also asked about e-cigarettes and at that time only one-third of adults had heard of the product. In this poll, that number jumped to 86 percent.

“We hope the results of this poll spur more discussion about what governments can do to regulate e-cigarettes or restrict sales to minors. After all, taking these steps now will allow us to protect the health of both children and adults in the future.”

Source: University of Michigan

E-cigarettes photo by shutterstock.

 

APA Reference
Nauert, R. (2013). Do E-cigarettes Tempt Kids to Smoke?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/12/19/do-e-cigarettes-tempt-kids-to-smoke/63513.html